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  • Michael Torke's Color Music
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Michael Torke's Color Music


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Audio CD, October 11, 1991
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$26.24 $1.35

Editorial Reviews

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Torke (b. 1961) writes some of the more interesting minimalism being done today. His punctuated rhythms are always framed around a tonal, melodic core and are as colorful as the titles of the works. But Torke is a bit more than a minimalist; he knows jazz inside and out and makes use of syncopation and even Modern dance rhythms as in Ecstatic Orange. The performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is quite good, but the booklet notes are obscure and of no help to anyone. Still, the music is what counts. Start here if Torke is new to you. -- Paul Cook

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Torke: Green MusicBaltimore Symphony Orchestra11:55Album Only
listen  2. Torke: PurpleBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 6:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Torke: Ecstatic OrangeBaltimore Symphony Orchestra11:01Album Only
listen  4. Torke: AshBaltimore Symphony Orchestra14:57Album Only
listen  5. Torke: Bright Blue MusicBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 9:07Album Only

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Zinman
  • Composer: Michael Torke
  • Audio CD (October 11, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Argo
  • ASIN: B000004CVR
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,040 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Demers on October 1, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I was turned on to Michael Torke's music when I saw the San Francisco Ballet dance to several numbers from this CD. Ash is my favorite. I can still close my eyes and see the complex interweavings of form and chaos that the dancers so beautifully performed. But it was the music that captured my imagination. It spoke to me of the complexity of our times. I listen to this CD often. Unfortunately, the SF Ballet company does not sell videos of their works.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Garth Terry on July 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have had this CD for a while, and it remains to be one of my favorite in the collection. Bright, perky, and with a little bit of jazziness, the pieces come off well. The pieces themselves might resemble something minimalist, but it definately has a forward movement. This propulsion is powered mainly by motifs and colorful chords, and less by melody. While some may find this drab and boring, it is really just another way of listening to music. Unlike wrapping your mind around an atonal piece, you just have to relax and let it flow.
Torke claims to have a synthesis of his senses (which is uncommon but not rare) in that he hears colors, and thus different sounds resemble different colors. Hence the name of the music. Realize of course that the titles refer to the color that he perceives, and is open for interpretation.
One of the great attributes of the disk is David Zinman and the Baltimore Orchestra. They sounds great and the engineering provided by Argo results in a crisp clean sound that has a punctuated freshness to it.
The individual pieces vary in tempo and mood, from exciting and invigorating to mellow and relaxed. They are not necessarily intended to go together in a set, and in fact there are other "color" pieces that Torke has written. Take them as you will, but they form a nice package for the disk.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Allison B. Baker on December 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Michael Torke is an up and coming composer of twentieth century music. By combining the jazz rhythms which have given American music a style all its own with the brilliant orchestral timbres of a classical orchestra, Torke proves that classical music is not dead, but, on the contrary, very much alive! I have gained a whole new respect for minimalism because of this cd. It is the subtleties and the unusual sonorities in his work that brings his colorful titles to life. I would highly recommend this cd to any open-minded music lover.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Having played Ecstatic Orange myself was what originally led me to buy this CD. The music may seem rather repetitive and perhaps even annoying after a while (you may even wonder if the composer was drunk or something), but one should keep an open mind. It does have structure and it does make sense if you care to listen. Baltimore plays it quite well, but I can understand why some may not like it. Just remember nobody especially liked Mahler or Stravinsky when their pieces first appeared either. Whether Torke will someday be considered a composer in the ranks of Beethoven or Shostakovich is completely impossible to say, but if you have an interest in something a bit different, go ahead and check this disc out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MARTIN SELBREDE on April 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Yes, two of the five works here also appear on the Javelin album. That leaves three works uncovered: Purple, Ash, and Ecstatic Orange. So the choice to acquire this album in addition to Javelin is ultimately driven by a referendum on the merit of these three works in their own right. For my money, the acquisition of this earlier album is more than justified by the presence of Ash. What makes Ash distinctive is the clever Beethovenian conceit that Torke dishes up. The illusion of linear progress is created in individual sections, but at the macro level this sense of purpose, like water to a thirsty Tantalus, is pulled away. Form follows function, however, and Torke is putting the Beethovenian idiom to an entirely different use than the archetype did. This is assuredly not parody, but a transmutation in the service of a fresh, modern aesthetic. It's as if the IDEA of Debussy's impressionism is being realized with Beethovenesque building blocks (cobbled from the idiom farthest removed from Debussy's).
On this album, the best works are Green, Ash, and Bright Blue music, in that order. Ecstatic Orange stands out as the dissonant member of the set, while Purple comes off as an effective interlude (a breather, as it were) bridging the effervescent Green to Ecstatic Orange. While some have inferred associative relationships between music and color on Torke's part, I don't think we should lump him in with Scriabin on this account. I've written a series of compositions named after Los Angeles area freeways, but there is no deeper meaning to be sought in that circumstance.
With the recent release of "Jasper" on Naxos, it's no longer true that all the orchestral Color Music of Torke's can be found on this one album. But the best selection of it is surely to be found on this CD...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By chefdevergue VINE VOICE on October 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"You know, I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate. And I don't hate this." --- C. Montgomery Burns, from "Brush With Greatness."
That about sums it up. As minimalism goes, this pieces are some of the more engaging examples of the genre. It still contains the repetitive rhythms & chord progressions, so beloved by the devotees of minimalism, spun out in innumerable variations for several minutes. But the music remains strangely engaging despite its minimalist qualities. I found that the energy in "Green," "Ecstatic Orange," and "Bright Blue Music" overcomes the repetitive qualities, and is enough to keep all but the most fervent haters of minimalism interested. I cannot say the same for "Ash," with its classically-inspired chord progressions, which became really irritating to listen to after just a few minutes. It would figure that "Ash" is the longest piece on this album.
3 1/2 stars --- catalogue it under "Minimalist music that isn't totally annoying."
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